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UQP authors shortlisted for the Queensland Literary Awards
Posted 06.08.2021

UQP authors shortlisted for the Queensland Literary Awards

Congratulations to our exceptional UQP authors shortlisted for the 2021 QLAs.

The winners' announcements will be livestreamed on the State Library of Queensland's website and Facebook Live at 6pm on Thursday 9 September. Register now.


Queensland Premier's Award for a work of State Significance

Ordinary Matter by Laura Elvery

Judges' comments:

This collection of stories takes the women winners of Nobel Prizes for sciences as a jumping off point to probe women’s lives, both historical and contemporary. Ordinary Matter is sensitively and eloquently written. Elvery demonstrates her strong imagination, first-class observation and fine prose style. A significant Queensland writer, this, her second collection, shows her moving into her prime.

Biting the Clouds by Fiona Foley

Judges' comments:

An original and creative exploration by visual artist Fiona Foley of the devastation wrought upon Queensland’s Batjala people at the end of the nineteenth century. The little-known story of how Batjala workers were paid in opium is inventively told in dialogue between her art and text, reclaiming the story for her own people and for the wider Australian community.

Change Machine by Jaya Savige

Judges' comments:

A genuinely impressive collection of poetry from the writer who grew up on Bribie Island, won a scholarship to Cambridge and now lives in London. Savige’s work moves eloquently between the localised and the cosmopolitan, pop culture and high art, the personal and the abstract. Playful and technically robust, it reveals a poet whose work sings with captivating intelligence.


University of Southern Queensland Steele Rudd Award for a Short Story Collection

Ordinary Matter by Laura Elvery

Judges' comments:

The stories in Elvery’s second collection are elegant, inventive, and often deeply touching. Each takes a person or a process – framed, to varying degrees, by the lives and discoveries of the women scientists who have won Nobel prizes – as its starting point and runs with it, observing in superb detail the contours of the worlds and experiences that unfold.

Smokehouse by Melissa Manning

Judges' comments:

Smokehouse renders the interior worlds of its many, often personally connected characters with the same care and rich detail as the Tasmanian coast they inhabit. Treading a line between short story collection and novel, Manning’s gentle yet striking prose reveals a small community in all its fractured, tense, luminous sadness and joy. A powerful debut.

Born Into This by Adam Thompson

Judges' comments:

Born Into This is brimming with feeling and purpose. It is a loving ode to the natural world, and a demand to bear witness to its destruction. It is a touching evocation of human connection, and a startling reminder of the cruelty we inflict on each other. A compelling debut collection made vibrant and original through Thompson’s lively voice.


Judith Wright Calanthe Award for a Poetry Collection

Dropbear by Evelyn Araluen

Judges' comments:

Dropbear is an incendiary polemic, a snarling exploration of the violence of colonisation and the repercussions of that continue to reverberate, not just on the victims of the violence but the land itself. Evelyn Araluen’s is a defiant poetry forged from the cinders of a burning world.

Change Machine by Jaya Savige

Judges' comments:

Jaya Savige takes great interest in culture, high and low, such that Rachmaninoff and Steve Irwin can comfortably mingle in a poem about the pine plantations of Beerburrum. Fiendishly erudite and frequently funny, Change Machine is merciless in the pressure it puts on language: when it’s not collapsing it explodes.